Swaddling has been used with newborns since the dawn of time. A nice, snug swaddle replicates the warm and cozy environment of the womb, meaning a calmer baby who often sleeps better and longer. Hospitals typically send babies home wrapped in a standard issue, pink or blue blanket. Some nurses refer to it as the ‘burrito wrap’. But if you’ve ever cursed your baby’s swaddling blanket after she’s wriggled out of it in the middle of the night (yet again), this list is for you!
People wonder if it is really that important to encourage babies to sleep on their backs. Many hate to be swaddled and tend to flail and scream unless they are snuggled onto their tummy. Unfortunately, babies are safer on their backs. Ugh. But are there tips to encourage babies to sleep on their backs? Yes. We’ve come up with a few..
1. Always put a baby to sleep on their back. Keep flipping them over if they turn.
2. Pillows or rolled up swaddling blankets on either side can go far towards keeping them stationary.
3. Sometimes an indented or v-shaped pillow works wonders when they are tiny.
4. Feed your baby about 30 minutes before bedtime to try satisfaction with a full stomach.
5. Tuck a favourite blanket or piece of your clothing (snugly) around the baby to provide comfort.
6. Leave the room while baby is still awake.
7. Make a routine with sound, book, lighting – whatever you feel you can sustain and repeat.
8. Eliminate stuffed animals, bumpers and loose blankets. We love sleep sacks and swaddlers.
Babies have an increased risk of dying of SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, when they sleep on their stomachs. This is related to the inability to lift their head completely. Once the baby can easily lift and turn its head from side to side-usually about 3-4 months – the baby can sleep on its stomach. You might try propping a baby on it’s side using rolled up towels or receiving blankets (to ensure the rolls are well away from their face) and see if she can sleep in this position.
When my daughter was born they let me cuddle her for a moment before taking her to bathe and check. A few groggy minutes later I was handed a tightly-wrapped little bundle and asked myself silently, “Who ordered the huge burrito? And where’s my baby?” Then her little eyes peered merrily up and me and I said, “Oh, there you are…but how the heck do I unwrap you?” Here are our tips on how to swaddle your newborn.
Q – I have a 4.5 month old son, whom I swaddle for all naps and bedtime. He does not sleep for longer than 3 or 4 hour stretches – much to our fatigue/frustration and I am nervous about weaning him out of his swaddle as the lack of sleep is difficult to deal with let alone what it would be like to have him swaddle-free (He is able to free himself of the swaddle most times when he wakes up and is left for a bit in his crib). I tried going without the swaddle for 2 naps and he kept himself up and cranky by grinding his hands into his eyes. I am nervous that I might be affecting his development as he does not roll over yet etc. Is there a maximum recommended age for swaddling and if you are weaning from the swaddle, is there a recommended process? Any help would be much appreciated – thanks!